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Childhood Vaccination Rates Remain High, CDC Says

THURSDAY, Sept. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Almost all toddlers in the United States are getting their recommended childhood vaccinations, despite some parents' concerns about giving so many shots to the very young in such a short period of time.

A new government report shows immunization rates for many routine vaccines in 2011 were 90 percent or more among kids aged 19 months to 35 months.

The breakdown: Coverage for the birth dose of hepatitis B increased from 64.1 percent in 2010 to 68.6 percent in 2011, coverage for the recommended two doses of hepatitis A vaccine increased from 49.7 percent to 52.2 percent in the same period, coverage for rotavirus vaccines increased from 59.2 percent to 67.3 percent and coverage for the full series of Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) vaccine increased from 66.8 percent to 80.4 percent.

Vaccination coverage remained above the Healthy People 2020 target of 90 percent for measles, mumps and rubella (91.6 percent); poliovirus (93.9 percent); varicella (90.8 percent); and hepatitis B (91.1 percent), according to the 2011 National Immunization Survey, reported in the Sept. 6 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, a publication of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Healthy People is a government program that establishes 10-year national health objectives aimed at improving health for all Americans.

Vaccination coverage rates did not vary by race or ethnicity for the most part. White and black children living below the poverty level, however, had lower immunization rates than those living above the poverty level.

Less than 1 percent of toddlers had received no vaccines at all, the report found.

Although national vaccination coverage is at or near targeted levels for most vaccines, vaccination coverage did vary by state in 2011, with the largest variations seen in the birth dose of hepatitis B vaccine and for vaccinations of hepatitis A and rotavirus.

The report also noted that 15 states have measles immunization coverage rates that do not yet meet the Healthy People 2020 goal of 90 percent. Low vaccination rates for extremely infectious diseases such as measles is a cause for concern, CDC officials said.

The agency urged parents, public health officials and community leaders not to be complacent about the importance of childhood vaccinations. Everyone needs to do what they can to help make sure the shots are given as recommended.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about childhood vaccines.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, news releaes, Sept. 6, 2012

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